Aging and Caregiving in the News

Related topics: Health & Wellness, Financial, Safety

Information, updates and interesting tidbits about healthy aging, senior care and family caregiving from across the country and around the world

In this issue:

  • An exercise plan to improve senior driving skills
  • A warning from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about selecting a senior financial advisor
  • Reset your body's biological clock for Daylight Saving Time

Could Exercise Make You a Better Driver?

According to The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence and MIT AgeLab's Exercise for Mature Drivers research, exercise can enhance certain aspects of flexibility and range of motion for mature drivers. "Our focus with this research was to examine the impact physical exercise might have on driving skills as you age," said gerontologist Jodi Olshevski, executive director of the Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence. "Driving can be essential to older adults' sense of independence and autonomy. We encourage drivers to consider exercise as one way to stay safe on the road."

Drivers in the study who were asked to exercise daily for eight to ten weeks reported greater ease in turning their heads to see blind spots; better ability to rotate their bodies further to scan the driving environment; and better ability to get into their cars. MIT AgeLab director Joseph F. Coughlin, Ph.D., said that the team located specific driving issues associated with physical aging. Visit The Hartford's website to find a detailed list of the beneficial exercises and a set of informational videos demonstrating four types of exercise that promote better driving

Not All Senior Financial Advisors Are Created Equal

Our nation's growing senior population means that an increasing number of seniors will need help managing their household wealth, retirement accounts and other assets. In response, more financial advisors are claiming to be experts on the financial needs of older adults. But according to a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the confusion arising from the many types of financial advisors who put the term "senior" in their title puts older consumers at risk of fraud. The report found that many such advisors lack expertise in senior financial issues, and some may in reality be little more than high-pressure salesmen. The report, "Senior Designations for Financial Advisors: Reducing Consumer Confusion and Risks," revealed that (1) The variety of titles and acronyms of senior designations confuse seniors (2) There is a wide variation in the training and qualification process and regulation associated with different titles (3) There is a need for a single authority to ensure that those using the "senior" designation do not mislead or harm consumers, selling them inappropriate investment and financial products or otherwise defrauding them. According to CFPB director Richard Cordray, the report "underscores the need for consistent high-level standards of training and conduct for those advisors who want to acquire a bona fide senior designation." What can seniors and families do now to protect elder assets? Visit the CFPB's Financial Protection for Older Americans Web page to learn more about selecting a financial advisor and to find information on other senior financial issues.
Avoid Daylight Saving Time Grogginess

Daylight Saving Time begins on March 9. Don't forget to spring ahead! In most areas of the country, Daylight Saving Time is a welcome sign that spring is on its way. But for some people—many of them seniors—making that one hour switch can disrupt sleep for several days. Dr. Praveen Rudraraju, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., offered these tips for coping with the loss of an hour's sleep when Daylight Saving Time begins:

  1. In the days leading up to Daylight Saving Time, go to bed 5 – 10 minutes earlier every 2 – 3 days.
  2. Get up 5 – 10 minutes earlier every 2 – 3 days in the same period.
  3. Exercise 30 – 40 minutes in bright light before 5:00 p.m. every day.
  4. Don't consume coffee and other caffeinated beverages after noon.
  5. Limit alcohol to one drink with dinner.
  6. Avoid computer work one hour before bedtime.
  7. Relax with reading or quiet music one hour before bedtime.
  8. Stay out of the bedroom until sleeptime. Do not work in the bedroom if at all possible.

Photo: The Hartford